Another Children's Prison to be Built on Prejudice and Profit?

From today’s Austin American Statesman:

Charles Laws, a water company executive whom local officials are calling on to resign, on Friday defended his decision to characterize a proposed detention facility for illegal immigrants as a “holding pen for w*tbacks.”

Laws said “w*tback” is widely acknowledged to mean immigrants who swim the Rio Grande and enter the United States illegally, not American citizens. Laws said the term is not racial, an assertion that others dispute. He said he wishes he had not used the word in an agenda item for the Creedmoor-Maha Water Supply Corp.’s board of directors but will not resign over it.

From yesterday’s KLBJ News:

According to Laws and other Mustang Ridge city officials, the proposal is to build a 1,000 bed facility that would employ approximately 200 people. Laws says the firm is interested in being within 30 miles of the Austin Bergstrom Airport, so that the detainees could be flown back to their countries of origin.

City officials tell us the proposal is to build a family detention center, much like the T Don Hutto Residential Center in Taylor, which is run by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). That facility is run by the private jail firm to house immigrants and their children who have been detained by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officers.

According to attorneys who represent people held in T Don Hutto, some of the detainees say they are in the U.S. seeking asylum from persecution. The large majority of the immigrants are not from Mexico or South America. Many are from South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Canada. The roughly 400 adults and children are held in the facility until their on-going immigration hearings are complete. Williamson County is named as the administrator of that contract, and receives a fee per inmate per day.

In December of 2007, Emerald made a proposal to the Caldwell County Commissioners Court to build a facility in north-east Caldwell County, between Lytton Springs and Dale.

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